Meandering and Focused
The patterns of neural activation when we’re reading for pleasure are not the same as those when we’re reading critically. It’s not just that the brain’s pleasure centers become activated in the more relaxed, immersed form of reading while the areas that have been implicated in attention and cognitive load are more active for the close reading. Instead, the transformation appears to be on a much broader level, with emotional, spatial, motor, and other areas all involved to various extents at various points.

Neuroscience is advancing so rapidly!  I wonder if the same results obtain when the study involves listening … listening in an engaging conversation (learning your new crush’s life story) versus listening to gain specific knowledge (lecture).  Anyone know?


Maria Konnikova distill the recent “your brain on Jane Austen” Stanford study exploring the different modes of reading. (via explore-blog)

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—-and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—-and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—-nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—-which is more—-you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling (via om-niscience)
beingblog:

The Science of Storytelling
by Colleen Scheck, APM producer
Scientists studying the origin of humans use the clues of ancient artifacts to help shed light on many facets of our evolution, including the development of culture in our species. In the World Science Festival panel “Why We Prevailed: Evolution and the Battle for Dominance,” anthropologist Alison S. Brooks showed a photo of six snail-like shells thought to be 100,000 years old that had synchronized piercings with smooth edges and coloration, suggesting they were strung like a necklace and worn on a body-painted “person.” What was the purpose of this Neanderthal art? A primitive marriage symbol? A tribal identifier? A designation of leadership? And what story did the wearer tell about it? 
That question lingered in my mind at a subsequent panel “Why We Tell Stories: The Science of Narrative.” While storytelling itself may have been a component of our prototype years, the science of storytelling is a very young field. Jonathan Gottschall, a writer at this intersection, noted its infancy — there’s only about 15 years of active scientific research in hand. Why? He said neither scientists nor humanities scholars feel it’s their jurisdiction. He advocates for bringing experts in these disciplines closer together to more rigorously advance our understanding of this uniquely human gift.
The panel was an intriguing and entertaining example of how writers and scientists can jointly explore the wide spectrum of theories and questions in this arena. Authors Joyce Carol Oates and Jeffrey Eugenides, psychologist Paul Bloom, novelist and psychologist Keith Oatley, and Gottschall discussed everything from the neurological functions in the brain of a reader to storytelling’s role in cognitive development in children, from the differences in the art of storytelling itself to its sociological implications in our individual and communal lives, from the nature of its psychological depths to the value of its aesthetic heights. What is the effect of “constantly marinating ourselves in fiction” like we do? Why do children’s stories often center around some type of trouble, when we would expect them to want to avoid fearful or sad narratives? What’s the future of storytelling? Will video games evolve beyond action genres to include virtual engagement in a Henry James or Jane Austen story?
In closing, moderator Jay Allison brought me back around to evolution. As one of the creative forces behind the popular public radio program The Moth, he noted the remarkable appeal of the show’s utterly simple and primitive form — individuals telling true personal stories, without editing or sculpting or elaborate production.
What’s the power of storytelling in your life? What do you think is important to advancing this field of inquiry?
(Click on the panel title links above to replay the live stream of both these events.)
Photo at top (l-r): Jonathan Gottschall, Joyce Carol Oates, Jeffrey Eugenides, Keith Oatley and Paul Bloom discuss the art and science of storytelling.

beingblog:

The Science of Storytelling

by Colleen Scheck, APM producer

Scientists studying the origin of humans use the clues of ancient artifacts to help shed light on many facets of our evolution, including the development of culture in our species. In the World Science Festival panel “Why We Prevailed: Evolution and the Battle for Dominance,” anthropologist Alison S. Brooks showed a photo of six snail-like shells thought to be 100,000 years old that had synchronized piercings with smooth edges and coloration, suggesting they were strung like a necklace and worn on a body-painted “person.” What was the purpose of this Neanderthal art? A primitive marriage symbol? A tribal identifier? A designation of leadership? And what story did the wearer tell about it?

That question lingered in my mind at a subsequent panel “Why We Tell Stories: The Science of Narrative.” While storytelling itself may have been a component of our prototype years, the science of storytelling is a very young field. Jonathan Gottschall, a writer at this intersection, noted its infancy — there’s only about 15 years of active scientific research in hand. Why? He said neither scientists nor humanities scholars feel it’s their jurisdiction. He advocates for bringing experts in these disciplines closer together to more rigorously advance our understanding of this uniquely human gift.

The panel was an intriguing and entertaining example of how writers and scientists can jointly explore the wide spectrum of theories and questions in this arena. Authors Joyce Carol Oates and Jeffrey Eugenides, psychologist Paul Bloom, novelist and psychologist Keith Oatley, and Gottschall discussed everything from the neurological functions in the brain of a reader to storytelling’s role in cognitive development in children, from the differences in the art of storytelling itself to its sociological implications in our individual and communal lives, from the nature of its psychological depths to the value of its aesthetic heights. What is the effect of “constantly marinating ourselves in fiction” like we do? Why do children’s stories often center around some type of trouble, when we would expect them to want to avoid fearful or sad narratives? What’s the future of storytelling? Will video games evolve beyond action genres to include virtual engagement in a Henry James or Jane Austen story?

In closing, moderator Jay Allison brought me back around to evolution. As one of the creative forces behind the popular public radio program The Moth, he noted the remarkable appeal of the show’s utterly simple and primitive form — individuals telling true personal stories, without editing or sculpting or elaborate production.

What’s the power of storytelling in your life? What do you think is important to advancing this field of inquiry?

(Click on the panel title links above to replay the live stream of both these events.)

Photo at top (l-r): Jonathan Gottschall, Joyce Carol Oates, Jeffrey Eugenides, Keith Oatley and Paul Bloom discuss the art and science of storytelling.

Normal life: It’s comforting exactly because it is dull and often pointless, and it slowly hulls us all into a state of waking slumber. It makes us fixate on stupid, meaningless things like running out of toothpaste or breaking a shoelace, as if these things were overwhelmingly significant-and all the while the truly important stuff we are ignoring is sharpening its fangs and slinking up behind us. In the one or two brief moments of real insight we get in our lives, we may realize that we are being hypnotized by irrelevant trivia, and we may even wish for something exciting and different to come along to help us focus and drive these stupid niggling trifles out of our minds.
Dexter Morgan, Double Dexter (via approachingsignificance)
beingblog:

“Once God saw quantum mechanics, he smiled.” - biophysicist Thorsten Ritz
by Colleen Scheck, guest contributor
I highly recommend watching the stream of last night’s World Science Festival event “Quantum Biology and the Hidden Nature of Nature.” It’s rare that a moderator steals the show - especially when sharing the stage with the engaging, brilliant and distinguished minds of Paul Davies, Seth Lloyd, and Thorsten Ritz - but journalist John Hockenberry did it. Through the insights of these three scientific guides, Hockenberry took the professed “QB” crowd on a fun journey through the “spooky” intersection of quantum mechanics and biology, exploring how it might explain bird migration, photosynthesis and the delicate sense of smell. God only came up once, after Hockenberry abandoned a complicated question and said “Let’s forget all that - is there a God?” “Once God saw quantum mechanics, he smiled” replied Ritz. I guarantee you’ll be both fascinated and entertained by this event, and perhaps you’ll wish, like me, that this is how you had been taught science in school.

beingblog:

“Once God saw quantum mechanics, he smiled.” - biophysicist Thorsten Ritz

by Colleen Scheck, guest contributor

I highly recommend watching the stream of last night’s World Science Festival event “Quantum Biology and the Hidden Nature of Nature.” It’s rare that a moderator steals the show - especially when sharing the stage with the engaging, brilliant and distinguished minds of Paul Davies, Seth Lloyd, and Thorsten Ritz - but journalist John Hockenberry did it. Through the insights of these three scientific guides, Hockenberry took the professed “QB” crowd on a fun journey through the “spooky” intersection of quantum mechanics and biology, exploring how it might explain bird migration, photosynthesis and the delicate sense of smell. God only came up once, after Hockenberry abandoned a complicated question and said “Let’s forget all that - is there a God?” “Once God saw quantum mechanics, he smiled” replied Ritz. I guarantee you’ll be both fascinated and entertained by this event, and perhaps you’ll wish, like me, that this is how you had been taught science in school.

crudeability:

Master Romain Gavras..blows this shit out of the water.  Before anything, refix this shit and press mute.

Political discussions have a time and place in my opinion - but this, this is something different.

So man, where the hell do you even begin to describe the degree of absolute fucking brilliancy that is before our eyes?  I’m guessing, by saying thank fuck for masterminds like Romain Gavras and ironic as it sounds - this clip is so damn refreshing.

We’ve been swarmed, suffocated and seduced endlessly with the ideology that we can do or be anything we want to be, regardless of the fact that we live in, for the most part, a democratic world - or so we believe.  It’s sucks to say it, but these days the majority of music clips created, are fucking goats cheese.

And then BAM!  Romain strikes again - something shocking.  Don’t take that literally, because we all know too well he’s the king when it comes to that.  

So I ask you - what. do. you. see?

I see everyday life in the 21st century.  This shit relates to what we are living through today.  Although maybe not directly, we are definitely indirectly affected. If you take the time to really sit back and watch this - you’ll see there are glimpses of every single fight for freedom we’ve heard or been a part of over the past decade, fuck it, make that 5 years.

We need to open our eyes and ears to what’s really changing and why.

Look - dissecting every bit of this mini-mockumentary isn’t necessary, that’s for you to do, for you to realise.  So I ask you one last time. What do you really see? I see Desire. Passion.  Camaraderie. Will. 

I see Life.

Thank you Romain Gavras, once again, for the shock.

crudeability:

TED Talks are probably one of the best things to have happened to mankind since the birth of Youtube.  Yea big call - but I’ll stick by it.

The amount of knowledge and inspiration passing through presenters onto the audience around the globe is ecstatic.  The moto says it all: Ideas Worth Spreading.

What more can we want?  There are millions of people with ideas and millions of ideas worth spreading so it only makes to share them.

And THIS is an idea worth SPREADING by an artist worth sharing.  He goes by the initials of JR - having originally been a graffiti artist, turned photographer, turned humanitarian (and owns the largest art gallery in the world apparently) JR’s now set his mind on something so huge and commendable that only he should be the one explaining it to you.

In short, it’s called the Inside Out Project.

It’s been a long time since I’ve watched someone tell and explain their cause with so much passion purely for the betterment of people they don’t even know - and be able to say they are changing the World literally one person at a time with so much integration.

BIG UP JR.  Maximum Respect to you.

sharingpoetry:

I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
the light of those flowers, hidden, within…

So peaceful .. love the different lighting.

kateoplis:

Colors of Tibet, by reurinkjan

beingblog:

Sarah Kay Performs “B” at the Bowery

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

We hijacked the audio from this performance of “B” for this week’s podcast featuring our interview with spoken word poet Sarah Kay. Note: the very first words of the poem, “If I should have a daughter” are missing (and it contains an expletive).

Krista preferred the intimacy and relaxed style of this presentation at the Bowery Poetry Club in 2008 over her performance at TED2011:

What’s your take?